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Prosecutors Say Driver Shut Off Air to Migrants

March 01, 2001|Reuters

MAIDSTONE, England — The Dutch driver of a truck carrying Chinese illegal immigrants to the British port of Dover deliberately shut off their only air vent, killing 58 of them by suffocation, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Perry Wacker, 32, who is on trial in Britain for manslaughter, knew the immigrants were in the refrigerated container of his truck. But he showed no concern for their welfare, the lawyers argued.

Customs officers who opened the truck at Dover on June 18 found 60 immigrants packed into the container, hidden behind a wall of tomato boxes. All but two were dead.

Prosecuting attorney Victor Temple said Wacker was worried only about whether any noise from the immigrants could be heard outside the truck and had shown no compassion on a day when temperatures rose to 90 degrees.

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